Friday, June 29, 2012

Views from the North

It's a peculiar thing that, in many years of holidays first with family and later not, I'd never actually made it to the English Lake District. Angela had, but it was a long time ago, and some of her photographs back then had accidents when being developed. So, in mid-May, we spent just over a week rectifying those omissions. I've just finished putting the better photographs we took on that trip up on my Flickr account.

Unfortunately, we didn't pick the one week in May when the weather was actually passable, but we weren't there to walk long distances, and we were working on the principle that it's the Lake District; if you don't get rained on a bit, you're doing something wrong.

And my general conclusion; it's actually an advantage while up there not to be a particular devotee of the Romantic poets (or John Ruskin). It lets you take the area as it comes, admiring some superb scenery and general picturesque-ness as you stumble across it without feeling obliged to drag round a lot of peculiar little cottages or play spot-the-daffodil. (Though we did accidentally encounter the spot where Dorothy Wordsworth found a lot of nice daffodils, before her brother nicked her diary entry and put it in verse. We weren't there in daffodil season, though.) Also, Wasdale does the "magnificently bleak" thing superbly, and has a good pub at the far end.

1 comment:

Phil Masters said...

I've just discovered some notes I made for my own reference throughout this holiday. I'll drop them in here, mostly for my own future reference...

Friday: arrived c.7:30. Dinner in Francine's, Windermere.

Saturday: Morning, climbed Orrest Head for view. Afternoon, three boat trips on Windermere - first to Ambleside, inc. lunch at Lucy's On A Plate, then back; stroll round town, then trip to Lakeside at south end of lake and straight back; quick drink in Hole in't Wall; evening trip round islands. Then dinner - tapas in Bodega.

Sunday: morning, last use of 24 hour boat ticket to ride up to Brockhole (nice gardens), then bus up to Ambleside, lunch in Glass House, walk up Stock Ghyll to
Stock Ghyll Force (muddy path...). Bus back to hotel. Evening meal at Jackson's Bistro. Raining by now...

Monday: Drove to Wast Water, with some detours on the way thanks to satnav. Up valley, inc. dramatic views; lunch in Wasdale Head Inn. Strolled around - St. Olaf's Church (roof beams allegedly timbers from Viking ship). Back as rain began; stuck to A-roads and paused for a little while at Coniston. Not a huge amount to see there apart from Ruskin's grave. Then back to hotel via Lakeland
shop. Dinner at Beresford's Restaurant (not too far from hotel). Lots of dramatic scenery today, though.

Tuesday: Busy day. Briefly down to Fell Foot park, then back up to Blackwell (v. impressive), inc. lunch, then up to Holehird Gardens. Then returned the car to the hotel and grabbed a bus to Grasmere for an hour or so. Finally, dinner at Lazy Daisy's Lakeland Kitchen.

Wednesday: Bus up to Keswick (via Grasmere, but didn't stop there), look around the town, then another bus down to Seatoller. Light lunch in the Yew Tree there, then took the bus that goes up the Honister Pass (eek!), round through Buttermere, and back to Keswick. Discovered that the Cars of the Stars Museum there had relocated to Miami, but saw the town Museum/Art Gallery, including the lithophone (Victorian curiosity), and had a bit more of a look at the lake (Derwent Water), including the superb view from Friar's Crag. Then back on the bus to Windermere. Dinner in Rastelli's - pizza.

Thursday: Bus to Kendal (it being a damp grey day). Look round town (lots of little alleys and courtyards off the high street); spend a while in the Museum of Lakeland Life. Lunch in the bar of the Brewery Arts Centre, then down to the river (again), over, and up the hill to the ruins of the Castle. Down to town & river again, over for coffee & cake in veggie cafe on river. Then locate town museum - random stuff, geology, stuffed animals. Bus back to Windermere. Dinner in the Lamplighter's bar/restaurant.

Friday: Up to Ullswater (over the Kirkstone Pass) and along the western shore. Stopped and walked up to Aira Force and High Force. Then back to car and on to Pooley Bridge, with lunch in Granny Dowbekin's. Back the way we came, but diverted to Townend House - mostly notable for a lot of carved wood. Back to hotel; later, dinner in Jackson's Bistro.

Saturday: Bus to Coniston, and launch on the lake, taking us to Brantwood - John Ruskin's house. Looked round house, then lunch in cafe (in former coach house - v. good). Then look round gardens, ancillary displays etc. - gardens more extensive than realised. Back to Coniston by launch, back to Windermere by bus. Later, dinner in Francine's.